The Three-Eyed Raven isn't the only one who saw visions of the future. There was also Daenerys, Melisandre, some random sex workers, and everyone in the Game of Thrones writers room, who gave us all opportunities to figure out the fates of our favorite fantasy characters. The foreshadowing throughout Thrones was methodical and constant, dating all the way back to hints that were dropped before the pilot even aired. We've found the biggest moments that hinted at Thrones's pseudo-epic conclusion, proving that this really was the plan all along, even if George R. R. Martin still hasn't figured it out.
Thrones did not do a good enough job leading us to Daenerys's dark breakdown. They didn’t really TELL us she was on the verge of a psychotic massacre of innocents and they didn’t really SHOW us she was on the verge of a psychotic massacre of innocents, so the psychotic massacre of innocents thing kind of took us a little by surprise. That being said, knowing what we now know, there were moments scattered throughout the series that hinted at the mad, mad world ahead of our Khaleesi. On season four, Dany brings three masters to her den after Ser Barristan’s murder who all promise they had nothing to do with the Sons of the Harpy terror group. Dany didn’t know or care if they were telling the truth and burned one of them alive to send a message. Little did we know, the message was for us, and decoded it meant, “Season eight is gonna get weird, y’all!”
As for Dany’s first taste of a *mass* burning, there’s no denying that the khals were guilty of imprisoning our Queen of Many Names, but she does weirdly enjoy burning them all alive. Maybe it’s the fantasy element of it all, but we all just kind of accepted her silent pleasure in burning a bunch of men alive as a quirky and fun part of the conquering process instead of a harbinger of what was yet to come. She also had the leftovers promise her that they would “kill my enemies in their iron suits and tear down their stone houses,” which basically sums up King’s Landing to a T.
It’s hard to imagine some pundit figuring out that the Night King would die before Thrones’s final season had even reached the halfway mark based on a prophecy or a weird cave drawing hiding behind Dany’s Starbucks cup, but we all should have known Arya was going to do the deed. Just two episodes before the Night King bit the dust, the writers treated us to a hint about how the Battle of Winterfell was going to go down. While we were distracted by Arya Stark and Jon Snow’s long-awaited reunion, our Faceless hero was sneaking up on Jon in the weirwood tree in the Godswood, which is exactly how she’d be getting the jump on the Night King in just a few overly dark cinematic hours.
We, as a society, really need to start taking women’s words at face value. Elizabeth Warren really does want to end the student loan crisis, Ariana Grande really did run pop, and Daenerys was really planning to lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground. Aside from her iconic season two battle cry, Dany has spoken of her willingness to eviscerate women and children in a fiery hellstorm on more than one occasion. In Meereen, Dany responds to slave masters killing random innocents by saying she’d do one better and return their cities to the dirt. When Tyrion responds by pointing out that’s exactly what her father would say, both audiences and Dany shrugged him off as being overly-dramatic.
Viewers are supposed to be happy with Bran sitting on the iron throne after Arya and Sansa did all of the heavy lifting, with his position as the Three-Eyed Raven acting as some sort of evidence that he was useful more than once in the past decade. His vision of the future might have been accurate, but it came a full two seasons after Dany had already experienced basically the same vision, just clearer and with more of a dramatic touch. Still, on season four, Bran saw a drag’s shadow over King’s Landing and the Throne Room covered in ash. Again, we all thought it was snow, but we can assure you some fan in Southern California must have realized what ash falling from the sky looks like. When Smoky the Bear said, “Only you can prevent forest fires,” he was really talking to Dany and the Thrones writers' room.
We’re not sure what Jon is up to in Thrones’s final shot, but we’re hoping he’s leading Wildlings away to become the King Beyond the Wall and not just giving some lost tourists directions back to Winterfell. If the wide shot looked a little familiar to you, it’s probably because you remember it from the cold open of the series back in 2011. Before we knew about the Night’s Watch, before we’d seen the Army of the Dead, there was a wide shot of the wall that would directly echo the way the series would end in 2019 as a nice full-circle moment for eagle-eyed fans who’d been there since the beginning (or super fast bingers). If you immediately realized this during the finale, we’d like to direct you to our scientific discovery lab, where we’ll be studying you to determine where and how you got your superhuman memory.
Melisandre’s conversation with Arya in the forest was so vague, it almost felt like the writers were purposefully trying to keep their options open. If you say Arya is going to shut brown, blue, and green eyes, that’s narrowed it down to literally every person on the planet that isn’t related to Edward Cullen or very, very jaundiced, but Digital Spy and a few other websites seem to think the blue-eyed comment refers to Arya’s defeat of the Night King during Thrones’s last hurrah. Our mysterious Big Bad did have a pair of pretty baby blues, and Melisandre’s comment about staring at darkness and seeing it stare back at her could have referred to the cinematographers’ creative choice to make everything on screen so dim that no one could actually see what was happening. Or the long night, whatever.
Before Jon joins the Night’s Watch, he has a conversation with Jaime that TV Tropes rightfully characterized as “oddly significant” considering that nothing succeeding it seemed to have any relationship to their discussion of Jon’s position as Ned’s bastard (which led Catelyn’s hatred and John’s desire to simply run away to the Night’s Watch) and Jaime’s as the Kingslayer. Jokes at Jon’s expense about how his existence makes him a Queenslayer for slaying Catelyn’s reputation and general good mood became eerily omniscient as Jon’s murder of Dany effectively makes him a literal Queenslayer. Jon and Jaime both committed the same treasonous crime with minimal punishment, but Jaime would have no way of knowing that Jon really would have to join the Night’s Watch for being a Queenslayer in the not-too-distant future.
While Maisie Williams has been doing left-handed training since 2011, her character worked hard during her training in the House of Black and White to be able to fight with her right hand. Some online haters thought this quick moment was added to justify moments when Maisie had to act using her IRL dominant hand, but it actually became the key to her defeat of the Night King. Taking a cue from The Princess Bride, Arya switches her dagger from one hand to the other in order to take down the series’s OG Big Bad once and for all.
We’re going to go out on a limb here and assume that the writers didn’t imagine Arya losing her virginity in a cavern back in 2011 when Maisie was like twelve, that would just be gross. It was more of an accidental foreshadowing when Robert and Ned guessed at their spawns’ future romantic episode in the series’s pilot. Robert is excited that he could join houses with Ned, saying, “I have a son! You have a daughter!” Rob was, of course, talking about Joffrey and Sansa’s unholy union, but Gendry *is* Robert’s son and Arya *is* Ned’s daughter. Great minds think alike?
Theon Greyjoy made it all the way to the Long Night before he was stabbed by the Night King, but the heir apparent had been prepared to die in a bloody battle since the end of season two. In an impassioned speech to the Ironborn, he said there would be an epic battle that would be remembered for generations after they all die with spears in their guts. In a classic “Be Careful What You Wish For” moment, Theon takes his own advice and a spear right through his midsection.
Tormund knew Jon better than Jon knew himself. On the season four finale, Tormund notes that Jon will never be a “kneeler” again, and despite Jon’s best attempts to the contrary, he couldn’t just sit back and watch Khaleesi lead all of Westeros into the ground. Tormund also tells Jon that Jon has true north within him when he sends Ghost back home with the Wildlings, and as it turns out, Jon really did belong North of the wall, likely as the King Beyond the Wall.
Dany didn’t name her dragons after the best role models. God knows Viserys was a sniveling little weasel, Rhaegar couldn’t keep it in his pants, and if we’re being honest with ourselves, we only like Khal Drogo because Jason Momoa is both hot and a friendly giant. Drogo might have become Dany’s great love, but he was also someone whose passion in life was raping and pillaging. Drogon ultimately became Dany’s weapon of mass destruction, pillaging King’s Landing in a big way and fulfilling the Dothraki “Stallion Who Mounts the World” prophecy. He rode like the wind, killed innocent wives, and made enemies cower before him, just like his daddy would have.
Dany’s deeply inbred family line was regularly brought up to discredit the would-be queen, with Varys remarking that “ever time a Targaryen is born, the gods toss a coin, and the world holds its breath.” Whatever happened to good old fashioned webbed feet? Somehow, no one had that same set of reservations about Targaryen-born Jon Snow, who ends up just fine (and free of any widely-anticipated bloodlust). The minute viewers realized there were two Targaryens chilling in the Seven Kingdoms, it should have been pretty clear that only one of them could statistically beat their 50/50 odds. Since Thrones doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to doing right by their female characters, we could all see where this was headed.
Sophie Turner defended her spoiler-rific tattoo by pointing out that it’s a quote from season seven, but Thrones’s writers aren’t exactly known for writing throwaway one-liners. It’s more likely that Sophie accidentally got a spot-on bit of foreshadowing inked onto her arm and didn’t think anyone would notice its importance. On season seven, Sansa said the pack would survive, and it did. The remaining Starks — Jon, Sansa, Arya, and Bran — all make it through the final season and they aren’t *just* surviving, they are thriving. Jon is King of the Outcasts, Sansa is Queen of the North, Bran is King of Everything, and Arya’s exploring the ocean blue and could find an entirely new landmass to rule.
Probably the most-cited moment that clued audiences into the fact that the Thrones writers really had planned Dany’s ending all along (and therefore really did screw up its delivery that badly) was this vision from season two. Dany saw her future at the House of the Undying when none of us knew what to think of it, including the future Mad Queen herself. Dany walks into a badly burnt thrown room as ashes fall from the sky. Of course, we all thought it was snow until our collective post-finale “aha!” moment. Before she can sit on the Iron Throne, she’s rerouted to a paradise where she finds her late husband, Khal Drogo, and their child. This gives us two things to be thankful for: that Dany is probably happily enjoying an afterlife filled with domestic bliss, and that a strange Aunt/Nephew pairing wasn’t the producers' idea of an endgame relationship.
This one really blew our minds. Proving that Bran’s ascension wasn’t a “Dan Is Gossip Girl” moment, the first hint we got about who would sit on the Iron Throne was released before we even saw the pilot. On a promotional poster from April 2011, Ned Stark is hanging out on the throne with a big sword and a dour expression. There’s also a raven randomly perched next to him, but that’s no big deal. LOL, just kidding, it was the biggest deal ever and basically told us from Day 0 that the Three-Eyed Raven would be the beloved show’s endgame. The “You Win Or You Die” slogan even matches up with the image since Ned definitely dies and Bran definitely wins. It was the real Alpha and Omega of spoilers, showing us the series’s first twist ending and its last.